Mary LouRetton is a retired American gymnast…..who won the gold medal in the individual all-around competition at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics….as well as two silver medals and two bronze medals….. when her performance made her one of the most popular athletes in the United States.
Retton was inspired by watching Nadia Comăneci outshine defending Olympic two-event winner Olga Korbut on television at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal….when she herself was eight years of age ….and she took up gymnastics in her hometown of Fairmont, West Virginia….where she was coached by Gary Rafaloski. She then decided to move to Houston, Texas, to train under Romanians Béla and Márta Károlyi….who had coached Nadia Comăneci before their defection to the United States. Under the Károlyis, Retton soon began to make a name for herself in the U.S.,….after winning the American Cup in 1983….and placing second to Dianne Durham (another Károlyi student) at the US Nationals that same year. Though Retton missed the World Gymnastics Championships in 1983 due to a wrist injury….she won the American Classic in 1983, 1984 and 1985….as seen in this video herewith….plus she won Japan’s Chunichi Cup in 1983.